Register Today for Plan Year 2020 Training!

Marketplace agent and broker registration and training for plan year 2020 is now live!

This training must be completed before enrolling customers in Marketplace coverage for the 2020 Open Enrollment period. Training is offered by CMS on the Marketplace Learning Management System and through America’s Health Insurance Plans, Inc (AHIP).

Follow these steps to complete registration and training:

  1. Log in to the CMS Enterprise Portal
  2. Update your information on your Marketplace Learning Management System (MLMS) agent/broker profile
  3. Complete the Marketplace training requirement
  4. Read and accept the applicable Marketplace Agreement(s)
  5. Print your 2020 Registration Completion Certificate
  6. Confirm your registration by using the Registration Completion List

Throughout the registration process, you can use the Marketplace Registration Tracker to track your progress.

Contact your Cornerstone representative with any questions.

Click here to contact your individual experts.

House Votes to Repeal ACA Cadillac Tax

On July 17, 2019, the House of Representatives voted 419–6 to pass H.R. 748 legislation to fully repeal the ACA’s Cadillac/excise tax. This the first step to full repeal. Consideration by the Senate is next, along with a companion bill S.684, which has 42 bipartisan cosponsors.

Delayed by Congress in both 2015 and 2018, the tax would impose a 40 percent excise tax on employer-provided health benefits that exceed certain limits, projected at $11,200 for an individual and $30,100 for a family in 2022.

Read more here: Cadillac Tax/NAHU

Updated Analysis Shows More Competitive ACA Marketplaces in 2019

A 2017 analysis done by the Urban Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation found “strong inverse associations between the number of marketplace health insurers and premium levels and premium growth; rating regions with few insurers had higher premiums and higher premium growth.” The analysis has since been updated with 2018 and 2019 data, which concluded that more than 20 percent of the U.S. population now lives in an area with five or more marketplace insurers, though there are many regional variations.

For example, more than 40 percent of the population in the Northeast lives in areas with five or more marketplace insurers, while in the South, only 4 percent of residents live in areas with five or more insurers though a majority (nearly 53 percent) live in areas with between one and two insurers. In addition, the analysis found that marketplace premiums in the rating regions with fewer insurers tend to be substantially higher.

Click here to read the full analysis.

Click here to view a summary from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

IRS Extends Deadline for Distributing Forms 1095-C or 1095-B to Individuals

The IRS recently released Notice 2018-94, which outlined extensions for 2018 information-reporting requirements for insurers, self-insuring employers, and certain providers of minimum essential coverage as well as applicable large employers.

Specifically, the notice extends the deadlines for forms 1095-C and 1095-B from January 31, 2019, to March 4, 2019. In addition, the notice extends good-faith transition relief from section 6721 and 6722 penalties to the 2018 information-reporting requirements under sections 6055 and 6056.

Click here for the full IRS Notice 2018-94.

Contact your Cornerstone representative with any additional questions regarding the notice.

IRS Releases New PCOR Fee

The IRS recently announced in Notice 2018-85 that the adjusted applicable amount for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research (PCOR) Fees is $2.45 for policy or plan years ending on or after October 1, 2018, and before October 1, 2019.

To learn more, click here.

IRS and SSA Announce Cost of Living Adjustments for 2019

The Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration announced cost of living adjustments  affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2019.

The important limits are provided below:                                                 

401(k), 403(b) & 457(b) deferrals                $19,000

Catch-up 401(k), 403(b) & 457(b)               $6,000

415(c) Limit                                                      $56,000

Annual Compensation Limit                         $280,000

HCE Compensation Limit                              $125,000

Maximum Pension at age 62                          $225,000

SIMPLE Deferrals                                            $13,000

SIMPLE Catch-up                                             $3,000

SEP Minimum Compensation                        $600

Key Employee Limit, Officer Test                  $180,000

IRAs for individuals age 49 & below              $6,000

IRAs for individuals age 50 & above               $7,000

Soc. Sec.Taxable Wage Base                              $132,900


Click here to view the news release from the IRS.

Click here to view IRS Notice 2018-83.

Click here to view the Social Security Fact Sheet.

Trump Administration Unveils Proposed Rule on HRA Flexibility

The Trump Administration recently unveiled a proposal that “expands the usability” of tax-free health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) in direct response to President Trump’s executive order “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition Across the United States.” Under the proposed rule, small business would be allowed to use HRA funds to provide offsets for premiums purchased by their employees in the individual market.

Critics of the proposal, however, contend that this could allow employers to push higher-risk employees away from company-sponsored coverage and into individual coverage offered through the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplaces. The Administration says the proposed rule “includes certain safeguards to mitigate the risk that health-based discrimination could increase adverse selection in the individual market.”


7 Points for Employers to Know About Proposed HRA Regulations

Proposed Rule on HRA Flexibility Improves an Important Health Coverage Tool for Small Businesses

Trump Administration Proposal Expands Access to HRAs


CVS-Aetna Merger Cleared by Department of Justice

Verified on October 10, 2018, the Department of Justice has allowed CVS Health’s acquisition of Aetna to proceed. The $68 billion deal is still subject to state regulatory approvals, many of which have been granted.The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year. The intention of the merger is to improve the consumer health care experience at a lower cost for patients and payors.

The news comes just one month after Aetna agreed to sell its Medicare prescription drug business to WellCare Health Plans, Inc. to alleviate concerns that the merger would harm competition among plans with pharmaceutical coverage for seniors.


Premiums for Employer-Sponsored Health Coverage Continue to Increase

According to a recent analysis by The University of Minnesota’s State Health Access Data Assistance Center, employees with employer-sponsored health coverage are paying more in premiums, co-payments, and deductibles than in years’ past. Between 2016 and 2017, the average annual premium rose 4.4 percent, from $267 to $6,368, nearly doubling the increase recorded between 2015 and 2016 at 2.3 percent.

The analysis uses data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey to “highlight the experiences of private sector workers with employer-sponsored insurance from 2013 through 2017 at the national level and within the states.” It is noted in the analysis that the financial protection offered by employer-sponsored insurance has steadily declined due to higher deductibles and premiums.

To view the full analysis, click here.

Trump Administration Releases Final Rule and Fact Sheet Regarding Short-Term Limited Duration Insurance

The Trump Administration issued a final rule Wednesday morning regarding short-term plans (or STPs) that is expected to go into effect 60 days from today. The rule will end a policy from the Obama Administration that restricted the length of time for STPs. The final rule restores the maximum duration of STPs to up to 364 days, with the ability to renew for up to 36 months at the carrier’s discretion.

The rule was created in response to an executive order passed by President Trump in October that directed federal agencies to expand the availability of Association Health Plans, short-term policies, and HRAs.

Click here to view the final rule.

Click here to view the fact sheet.


Contact your Cornerstone representative for any additional details.